Lionel Messi Caught in Mideast Politics Days Before World Cup

Lionel Messi Caught in Mideast Politics Days Before World Cup

However, he said, "the Argentine national team and its star player, Lionel Messi, a sport icon loved by many, slapped (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu by refusing to hold the match".

The decision has now been taken to postpone the game, which would have been Argentina's last World Cup warm-up friendly.

"The friendship between Argentina and Israel, which will soon celebrate its 70th anniversary, is not about a football match". It is unclear whether Argentina will play another warmup, or if it will arrive to Moscow ahead of schedule.

"They've finally done the right thing", Higuaín said in an interview with ESPN, confirming reports the game had been cancelled. Let us know in the comments section below.

Rotem Kamer, vice president of the Israeli Football Association, accused the Palestinian FA of "football [soccer] terror" after its leader called for protests against Argentina in the buildup to the game.

"We still hope that Messi will not come", said Rajoub. What we've experienced in the last 72 hours, which is public knowledge, the actions, the threats that have occurred, have led us to decide not to travel.

Neither the Argentine nor Israeli football associations have issued an official statement.

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The cancellation is just one more obstacle for Argentina, who were beaten finalists at the World Cup in Brazil four years ago and whose preparations for this year's tournament have been troubled.

"We also apologise to those that were going to take part in an event done for peace", he said.

"Hopefully, Lionel Messi will be in form and can do something for us", the tough-tackling defender who scored Argentina's third goal in their 3-2 win against Nigeria at the 2014 World Cup said.

Argentina have been grouped against Iceland, Croatia and Nigeria for the showpiece event in Russian Federation, and Messi admitted that Jorge Sampaoli's side need to pull up their socks. Israel regards Jerusalem as its "eternal and undivided" capital.

At the same time, Israel has faced fierce criticism over its use of of lethal force against Palestinian protesters on the Gaza Strip border with the Jewish state.

Israeli daily Yisrael Hayom, considered close to Netanyahu, expressed ire at Argentina with its front-page headline: "They surrendered to terrorism: The game against Argentina has been cancelled".

Argentina has cancelled its upcoming football match against Israel amidst condemnation for the Latin American country for its decision to have sporting ties with a country, whose troops have been committing war crimes against innocent Palestinians. The Palestinians claim east Jerusalem as the capital of a future state.

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